27 April 2010

Response to: Married women should say ‘I don’t’ to changing their name, study suggests

The Globe & Mail today published a study, and was terribly one sided in it's reporting of it. The article is called "Married women should say 'I don't' to changing their name"

Simply put, this article should have been titled, married women who change their last name are the stupidest women. The only benefit reported to changing a last name is reportedly that you are more caring. But you are less intelligent, competent and ambitious. You are also less likely to be hired for a job, work less, and earn less.

Well, let's look at this. First off, this is a terrible report card for society. We claim to be less judgemental, and less racist. But yet, if someone changes their name, we become very judgemental of that woman. That's two thumbs down.

Second, what is intelligence? Who is more intelligent, the average working North American or the average outback Aboriginal Australian? Sure one is probably book smart (and earns an income) whereas the other can live off of the land, without a supermarket to provide food. So can we really say that a non-changed-last-name-of-a-married-woman is more intelligent then the changed-last-name-married-woman. Is being able to answer business questions smarter then being able to answer questions to grade 3 homework?

Third, work less, really? The average career work days ranges from 8-10 hours per day. Whereas, if the name-changed-married-woman does have more children (as the study reports is usually the case), you had better believe her 'work' hours are longer. Sure, she may not clock-in and clock-out, but she does work. Sure she may not be sealing business deals, or selling products, but she is selling health ideas to her children, and sealing the family together. The stereotypical woman, as labelled in the study (not that I encourage stereotypes), I believe works more and sleeps less. Also, speaking of work, that requires ambition. What do you think takes a greater effort to wake up for, a dirty house with children yelling, or a janitor-ed clean office? You had better believe you need to be motivated to deal with children day-in and day-out.

Fourth, pay. We seem to only measure someones worth by how much they make per month. We only count pay for time worked at an employer. There is more value, even in tasks that aren't done for an employer. Remember the study done 2 years ago? If your stay-at-home-mom-with-changed-last-name was paid for her work, she would earn $117,000 US per year. We need to get this in our head! She is working! There is value to unpaid labour!

Fifth, look at the woman in the picture of the article. Hillary Clinton. Whoa! Hold up, a married woman with a changed last-name has become probably one of the most influential women in our current world. That last name change doesn't seem to have hindered her reputation. Do you think she would have it if her last name was still Rodham? Makes you wonder. The other notable pictured woman is Sandra Bullock. Yes she didn't change her name, but the only thing sleeping beside her is her Oscar, and I am not sure how warm and supportive that is (of course, I would say it is more supportive then that man she was married to.)

We need to look outside the box, and question these kind of studies and reports, in fact, all studies and reports need to be challenged. Don't take them at face-value. And really, you are not less intelligent, more dependent, and less of a worker and earner if you take on your husbands last name.

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